Stage Left Productions recently raised the curtain on THE WHO’S TOMMY in their new venue, The Eagle Theatre in Hammonton. For those readers who may not be familiar with this story, it’s the tale of Tommy, a “deaf, dumb and blind kid” who retreats into a catatonic state after witnessing a violent act as a young boy. Along the way, Tommy is molested, taunted and brutalized; he then discovers a talent for pinball, gets rich and famous, develops a cult-like following, but really can’t handle all the fame and longs for a quiet, normal life.
In Stage Left’s production Tommy is played by three actors, one at 4, one at 10, and the young adult Tommy. In this production 4 year old Tommy is played by Scott Bonerbo, a nine year old with a very bright future on stage. The 10 year old Tommy is double cast and in the performance that I saw it was played by the excellent eight year old Samuel Bortnick who impressively managed to maintain his character through very difficult situations. The young adult Tommy is played by Brian Bortnick, proud father of Sam, who gave a very solid performance all around but really excelled when he got to his solo “I’m Free”. Captain Walker is played by Collin Maier, who gives a stellar performance and really elevates the show when he is on stage. Mrs. Walker is played by Jennie Knackstedt who portrays a very convincing troubled mother throughout. Uncle Ernie is played by Andrew Cox who managed to be both incredibly creepy and sympathetic at the same time, his performance was the most nuanced of the group. Sean Casey gave an enjoyable performance as Cousin Kevin. The ensemble was solid throughout with moments of vocal brilliance; however, the choreography was too big for the stage which often forced dancers to not fully execute moves.
The tech work was excellent throughout and the set designs were perfect for the space.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable performance put on by a very energetic cast in a beautiful venue.
THE WHO’S TOMMY
by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff
June 10-25, 2011
Stage Left Productions
At The Eagle Theatre
208 Vine St
Hammonton, NJ 08037